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Have it all at Sorelle Winery

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Posted: Monday, November 29, 2010 1:22 pm

Sometimes a guy can have it all.

About 25 years ago, Kurt Russell and Robin Williams portrayed a couple of guys in the dog house with their wives for their addiction to football in "The Best of Times."

In one classic scene, the guys put together a spouse make-up dinner, but crafted a way to "have it all" - happy wives and football - by wheeling a TV showing the night's game just out of spousal view.

Unfortunately, their insuppressible gut reactions to a few bad plays gave away their little scheme and they wound up hilariously losing it all.

Upon stepping into the tasting room at the new Sorelle Winery, I immediately fixated on a large projected image of the afternoon's football game high on the barrel room wall behind the bar. The game felt surreal, appearing where the female eye may dismiss it, behind plate glass separating the 55-degreed barrels from the warm bar.

The soaring-ceilinged, 1800's-barn-style tasting room winery was opened in September, less than a year after completion by contractor Bob Korock, who describes the structure: "It's like a church for wine lovers."

Sorelle also caters to weddings, so you can, in fact, have it all: get married, catch a game, and taste what turned out to be some mighty fine wine on the same day.

Mike Scott with his wife Joanne of Italian decent and two daughters, Kim and Melissa, own and operate Sorelle - meaning "sisters" in Italian.

This Italian theme extends to the wines, which Mike makes under the guidance of consulting winemaker Ryan Flock. Ryan's day job is at Turner Road Vintners but he moonlights as winemaker for Napa's Elkhorn Peak Cellars and Livermore's Las Positas Vineyards.

Mike and Ryan are "terroirists," meaning they expect the vineyards to directly touch your soul, rather than the winemaking. As such, each bottling is 100% pure Pinot Grigio or Sangiovese, for example.

The standouts from our tasting were the 2009 "Belleza Fra" Barbera ($25), with characteristic smoky and floral aromas, and the 2009 "Sorriso" Primitivo ($22), filled with wonderful complex layers of black and red fruits and anise on the finish.

Mike gave us a sneak preview of his 2010 Primitivo in 15 barrels, seemingly bottle-ready now, with exciting berry flavors on top of nice acidity and fine chalky tannins. A restrained layer of 1/3 new American oak, built over the upcoming year will definitely make this a wine to seek out.

In 2007, the Scotts purchased the 1866 estate founded by Johnathan Dodge, located just south of Eight Mile Road at 9599 North Highway 88. Soon thereafter, vineyard consultant Stan Grant of Progressive Viticulture planted-out the estate's front 1.5 acres equally to Barbera and Sangiovese on a special density-increasing "figure 8" trellis system to hopefully net about 12 barrels per varietal.

And speaking of netting, Mike's biggest challenge for 2010 - the first yield from the vineyard - was, "Fighting the birds. We've got Robins swarming in groups with no other grapes nearby. This is the only deli in town for them."

Grapes didn't serve as Mike's first harvest, however. For that you'd have to turn to wind farms, notably many of those windmills up on Altamont Pass which he outfitted with components for wind turbines. Get him started on off-balance gargantuan blades taking out multi-story towers or forcing down a helicopter and you're in for a real treat.

If you still need an excuse to visit Sorelle, join them this Saturday night, December 4, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. for Toys for Tots and tasting. The barrel room will turn into a theater presenting the classic, "A Christmas Story," and Ole Saint Nick will make a personal appearance for family photo ops.

Bring a new, unwrapped toy and you'll get 20% off any wine purchase. Call 209-931-4350 or visit